Castaway Culture: on my deserted island

Photo: Sharon Gardiner

April’s Castaway, Sandy Lynch, is a familiar face in Combermere where she and her husband, John, operate Pilgrim Reader Books.

Rather than being whimsical about this question, I’ve decided to take it literally – not a weekend alone but an indefinite time on a deserted island, a la Daniel Defoe. (I would prefer not to be stranded on a desert island as chance of survival would be nil.)

Assuming no hydro, a handtool and books are my only choices. How about two tools – a good quality Swiss Army folding knife and a pencil.

Water and shelter could be covered by common sense but not food and medicine so a good foraging book would be my first need.

Ahead of me is a lot of time spent alone so the need for company and conversation has to be filled by books. Though I’m not a regular reader of poetry, I have found that much that is profound and wonderful about life is observed in a few words and often beautifully in poems; therefore, I would need a poetry anthology covering Donne and Dante, Hopkins and Eliot, Heaney and Ted Kooser, among others.

Because I have room in my arms for more than two books, I would add the Bible, a few Shakespeare plays, Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. That is all I can carry. Oops! What is that tucked under my arm? A stowaway – my favourite children’s novel, Elizabeth Goudge’s Little White Horse – is here for heart and comfort and pure joy.

These should keep me going until I am rescued by John, my husband, who always finds me. Hopefully, I will then be wiser and know better than to get lost again.

A postscript: Why the pencil? To write with, of course. If I’m having this amazing adventure, I surely want to write down thoughts. I would use the flyleafs and margins of the books.

About the author: Sandy Lynch was born in Texas and raised in Libya. She has spent almost 40 years in Combermere, raised five daughters with her husband, John, and is now a bookseller.

One comment

  1. Johanna Zomers

    You have no shortage of fantastic reading material from Pilgrim Books for your stay on a deserted island, Sandy Lynch. And of course, John would find you—first to replenish your supply of books and when you’ve had enough solitude, to escort you back to your true home in Combermere.

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